Monday, July 28, 2008

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Blame it on the heat, or perhaps I’m just having one of those ‘senior moments’,(LOL I’m kidding of course, I'm not that old but the subject of age has been on my mind as of late), I realized that I left a couple of things out of my most recent blog, “Aging 'Grace’fully”, which are boldly empowering for different reasons and I wanted to share them with you.

While I quoted some of what Tonne Goodman said, in her August Vogue pictorial (regarding the advantages of getting older and tips for looking chic forever), she made some smart, intelligent observations that I thought were ‘right’ on and worth keeping in mind (not just now as we head into the fall shopping season, but always) and so I am reprinting the entire text:

“Once you are comfortable in your own skin, which ideally you are by the time you are a little older, and you have gone through being fashion-conscious, you can freely decide exactly what you want to wear whenever you want to wear it. You can choose classic clothes day and night, and you never have to feel the need to embellish yourself in something that you don’t believe in. What you put on is an expression of who you are and how well you know yourself. If you need to have a covered arm, you should wear a covered arm; if you prefer to wear a flat than a heel, then there are great sandals to wear all the time - and a sandal with an evening gown that’s a minimal, simple sheath exemplifies a certain elegance that is understated and confident. Style becomes more important than fashion. What’s the famous thing that Diana Vreeland said? “Elegance is refusal.” It is important to appreciate current events and to be involved, to support the environmentally sound practices going on now, from the fabric used for clothes, to shopping organically and locally, to refusing to use plastic shopping bags. I guess once a hippie, always a hippie. After all, what were we doing back in the sixties? We dressed to make a statement. And it is still vital to do that today".

Secondly, one of the more interesting and compelling (actually, titillating would be a better description), columns in Vogue’s August issue, “The Other Woman at 75”, written by Jane Juska, really has nothing to do with fashion; unless you equate sex with fashion. And, on second thought, of course the two are inextricably related. In fact, Bill Cunningham’s latest ‘On the Street’ column this past Sunday, ‘Altitude’ focused on the popularity of the overtly sexy toweringly high heel and in this particular pictorial, a few of his subjects (how shall I say this delicately?) seem to have more in common with Ashley Dupre (aka Kristen, the woman who brought down Eliot Spitzer ) than say, Anna Wintour, what with their barely there ensembles and teetering heels.

Bill would probably be the first to admit that he has somewhat of a foot fetish, as he can often be seen ‘studying’ and photographing woman’s shoes, and it’s something that has obviously piqued his interest through the years. On The New York Times website (, there is an audio visual slide show of the weekly column, narrated by Bill himself (one of the paper’s more inspired ideas since he is always amusing, animated, and very natural as he explains in his owns words, the story of the week, and singles out best examples). In this week's installment, he bemusedly describes one of his subjects, (coincidentally striding past 'The Pleasure Chest' in Greenwich Village, with a 'Sex and the City' poster in clear view) clad in a hot pink coat over a black fishnet bodysuit and wearing a pair of very exaggerated black patent platform stilettos. I had to chuckle when he 'diplomatically' theorized that she is "probably a performance artist". FYI, the store was cropped out of the shot used in newspaper.

Anyway, getting back to “The Other Woman at 75”, written by Jane Juska, this is required reading for anyone who balks at the idea that an ‘older’ woman can possibly fall giddyingly in love or who bristles at the notion that a septuagenarian can enjoy a “strong sexual drive”. Juska, (“old enough to know better” in her own words), is disarmingly candid as she goes into detail about her affair with someone else’s husband. She recounts how, after a failed marriage at the age of 37, and a “crushing” affair with a married man which ended at 50, she began advertising for sex in The New York Review of Books at the age of 66. (Talk about a late bloomer). This led to numerous “passionate encounters with all kinds of men”; her liberated exploits became the subject of a memoir, “A Round-Heeled Woman”.

It was at her first book signing in Berkeley, that she met an older, handsome, married man, who has been her bed mate, and most importantly, soul mate, for the past 5 years. She does not seek to glorify, rationalize or condone her actions (the picture she paints has warts and all and she is forthcoming about the disadvantages of such a relationship), nor is she trying to convince others to follow her lead. This is a situation that happens to work, meets her specific needs, and fulfills her life. In case you’re wondering, and no, I am not encouraging you to go out and find someone else’s husband. But in the same way that enjoying fashion and living a stylish life does not have an ‘expiration date’ which ends at a ‘certain age', finding love and passion is not something that is only for the young.

Center: Roberta Freymann

And speaking of ‘I’ll have what she’s having’, last week, Roberta Freymann was the 'Hostess with the Mostess' as she opened up her sprawling apartment in a landmark building on the Upper West Side, to members of the press for a 'Christmas in July' champagne breakfast and holiday/resort press preview.

The merchandise, from Roberta Freymann, Roberta Roller Rabbit, as well as a new division that will not launch for several months (and so I will remain mum on what that is), all bore Ms. Freymann's unmistakable luxe eclectic well traveled stamp and ranged from ready to wear and accessories to a wide range of furnishings for the home (votive candles, bamboo placemats, horn dragonfly napkin rings, heart shaped espresso spoon sets, bold and graphically patterned textiles, etc).

Standouts included updated, more graphic, modern art inspired versions of her now famous wine drop bejeweled collars (Roberta was wearing one herself), jewel toned jewel-encrusted belts (both of which are made by the same Argentinian artist), luxuriously massive fringed scarves,

and a duo of suede fringed 'Flapper' dresses in chic gray and tobacco which were an editor's favorite (since many seemed to be eyeing them enviably). But while the selection was enticing for sure, from my New York point of view, nothing was as personally covetable as Ms. Freymann's own grand, art filled apartment.

-Marilyn Kirschner

1 comment:

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